Sen. Tim Scott blasts Chicago mayor for ‘devastating’ students with broken campaign pledge

FIRST ON FOX: South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott sent a letter Friday to the mayor of Chicago criticizing the Democrat over the city’s plan to shutter selective-enrollment schools, which Scott says would be “devastating” to the community while also breaking a promise the mayor made on the campaign trail.

“I write to express our strong condemnation of the Chicago Board of Education’s recently passed resolution that could eliminate school choice for Chicago families, strip minority and low-income students of their preferred high schools and widen the achievement gap,” Scott wrote in a letter to Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and Chicago Board of Education President Jianan Shi on Friday.

“As Chair of the Congressional School Choice Caucus, I believe that every parent has the right to choose the best school for their child, regardless of their zip code, and I urge you to preserve these critical options for families.”

The Chicago School Board passed a resolution this week that seeks to move away from school choice and bolster the city’s neighborhood schools to address “long-standing structural racism and socio-economic inequality.” However, the move comes after Johnson reportedly told the Chicago Tribune, “A Johnson administration would not end selective enrollment at CPS schools.”

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South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, left, and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. (Getty Images)

“If enacted, this plan would be devastating to the thousands of students and families who currently benefit from attending a school of their choice,” Scott wrote. “Chicago’s 11 selective-enrollment high schools, which provide and emphasize academic rigor and achievement, enroll nearly 10,000 Black and Hispanic students. Over 7,500 of students enrolled in these schools are low-income.”

According to the resolution that was passed, the board is looking to “transition away from privatization and admissions/enrollment policies and approaches that further stratification and inequity in CPS and drive student enrollment away from neighborhood schools.”

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“Schools like this are providing incredible opportunities for students, and families are clearly crying out for more choice—not less,” Scott wrote. “Six years ago, when Chicago Public Schools set up a new application system that allowed eighth graders to apply for a high school of their choosing, rather than enrolling in their assigned neighborhood school, parents jumped at the chance to give their child a better option.”

“Since then, a stunning 76 percent of Chicago high school students have chosen to attend a school other than the one assigned to them.”

Scott explained that as a candidate, Johnson “recognized” the importance of selective enrollment schools, but “now having secured office on that promise he’s turning his back on the families who rely on these schools and shutting out the students utilizing them to better their future.”

“As Chair of the Congressional School Choice Caucus, I believe supporting neighborhood schools and schools of choice is not an either/or proposition,” Scott wrote. “I am gravely concerned that this plan will strip away public school choice for families, destroy one of the city’s best ways of helping minority and low-income children succeed, and force children into failing public schools that do not work for them.”

“As you work to finalize this plan over the next several months, I urge you to preserve these crucial school choice options.”

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According to the Chicago Sun-Times, 76% of high school students and 45% of elementary school students do not choose to attend their assigned neighborhood schools.

“Every parent has the right to choose the best school for their child, regardless of their zip code,” Scott told Fox News Digital. There’s nothing ‘equitable’ about trapping low-income kids in failing schools.”

Fox News Digital reached out to Johnson’s office but did not immediately receive a response.

Fox News Digital’s Bailee Hill contributed to this report.

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